Recently, the zebrafish has gained in popularity as a vertebrate animal model for biomedical research. Commercial zebrafish housing systems are available and are designed to maximize stocking density of fish for a given space, but these systems are expensive and purchasing them may not be feasible for emerging laboratories with limited funding. In this article, we describe the construction of a simple and affordable recirculating zebrafish housing system. This system can be constructed in 3 working days, with materials readily available in hardware stores. The cost for construction of the system was only 3,000 MYR (750 USD). The system consists of a water reservoir, a supply line that delivers water to the shelves holding the zebrafish tanks, and a drainage line that receives water from both the supply line and the shelves containing the fish tanks and returns this water to the reservoir. This system also has a 3-stage filtration process to ensure that clean water is delivered to the zebrafish tank. The system can house up to 360 zebrafish. This low-cost housing system may make research using zebrafish feasible some laboratories.
Kisspeptins encoded by the kiss1 and kiss2 genes play an important role in reproduction through the stimulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion by activating their receptors (KissR1 EU047918 and KissR2 EU047917). To understand the mechanism through which temperature affects reproduction, we examined kiss1 and kiss2 and their respective receptor (kissr1 and kissr2) gene expression in the brain of male zebrafish exposed to a low temperature (15°C), normal temperature (27°C), and high temperature (35°C) for 7-days. kiss1 mRNA levels in the brain were significantly increased (2.9-fold) in the low temperature compared to the control (27°C), while no noticeable change was observed in the high temperature conditions. Similarly, kissr1 mRNA levels were significantly increased (1.5-2.2-folds) in the low temperature conditions in the habenula, the nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle, oculomotor nucleus, and the interpeduncular nucleus. kiss2 mRNA levels were significantly decreased (0.5-fold) in the low and high temperature conditions, concomitant with kissr2 mRNA levels (0.5-fold) in the caudal zone of the periventricular hypothalamus and the posterior tuberal nucleus. gnrh3 but not gnrh2 mRNA levels were also decreased (0.5-fold) in the low and high temperature conditions. These findings suggest that while the kiss1/kissr1 system is sensitive to low temperature, the kiss2/kissr2 system is sensitive to both extremes of temperature, which leads to failure in reproduction.
The bactericidal/permeability-increasing (BPI) fold-containing (BPIF) superfamily of genes expressed in the brain are purportedly involved in modulating brain function in response to stress, such as inflammation. Kisspeptin, encoded by kiss, is affected by inflammation in the brain; therefore, BPIF family genes might be involved in the modulation of kisspeptin in the brain. In this study, we investigated the expression of BPIF family C, like (bpifcl) in zebrafish brain and its involvement in kiss2 regulation. The identified, full-length sequence of a bpifcl isoform expressed in the zebrafish brain contained the BPI fold shared by BPIF family members. bpifcl mRNA expression in female zebrafish brains was significantly higher than that in males. Exposure of female zebrafish to 11-ketotestosterone decreased bpifcl and kiss2 mRNA expression. bpifcl knockdown by bpifcl-specific small interfering RNA administration to female zebrafish brain decreased kiss2 mRNA expression. bpifcl expression was widely distributed in the brain, including in the dorsal zone of the periventricular hypothalamus (Hd). Furthermore, bpifcl was also expressed in KISS2 neurons in the Hd. These results suggest that the Bpifcl modulates kiss2 mRNA expression under the influence of testosterone in the Hd of female zebrafish.
Cytokine-inducible SH2 domain-containing protein (CISH), a member of the suppressor of cytokine signaling family of negative feedback regulators, is induced by cytokines that activate STAT5 and can inhibit STAT5 signaling in vitro. However, demonstration of a definitive in vivo role for CISH during development has remained elusive. This study employed expression analysis and morpholino-mediated knockdown in zebrafish in concert with bioinformatics and biochemical approaches to investigate CISH function. Two zebrafish CISH paralogs were identified, cish.a and cish.b, with high overall conservation (43-46% identity) with their mammalian counterparts. The cish.a gene was maternally derived, with transcripts present throughout embryogenesis, and increasing at 4-5 d after fertilization, whereas cish.b expression commenced at 8 h after fertilization. Expression of cish.a was regulated by the JAK2/STAT5 pathway via conserved tetrameric STAT5 binding sites (TTCN3GAA) in its promoter. Injection of morpholinos targeting cish.a, but not cish.b or control morpholinos, resulted in enhanced embryonic erythropoiesis, myelopoiesis, and lymphopoiesis, including a 2- 3-fold increase in erythrocytic markers. This occurred concomitantly with increased activation of STAT5. This study indicates that CISH functions as a conserved in vivo target and regulator of STAT5 in the control of embryonic hematopoiesis.
Despite the known importance of long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) during development, very little is known about their utilization and biosynthesis during embryogenesis. Combining the advantages of the existence of a complete range of enzymes required for LC-PUFA biosynthesis and the well established developmental biology tools in zebrafish, we examined the expression patterns of three LC-PUFA biosynthesis genes, Elovl2-like elongase (elovl2), Elovl5-like elongase (elovl5) and fatty acyl desaturase (fad) in different zebrafish developmental stages. The presence of all three genes in the brain as early as 24 hours post fertilization (hpf) implies LC-PUFA synthesis activity in the embryonic brain. This expression eventually subsides from 72 hpf onwards, coinciding with the initiation of elovl2 and fad expression in the liver and intestine, 2 organs known to be involved in adult fish LC-PUFA biosynthesis. Collectively, these patterns strongly suggest the necessity for localized production of LC-PUFA in the brain during in early stage embryos prior to the maturation of the liver and intestine. Interestingly, we also showed a specific expression of elovl5 in the proximal convoluted tubule (PCT) of the zebrafish pronephros, suggesting a possible new role for LC-PUFA in kidney development and function.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a 289 kDa serine/threonine protein kinase of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-related family is known for its role in regulating lifespan and the aging process in humans and rodents. Aging in zebrafish very much resembles aging in humans. Aged zebrafish often manifest with spinal curvature, cataracts and cognitive frailty, akin to human age-related phenotypical effects such as osteoarthritis, dwindling vision and cognitive dysfunction. However, the role of the zebrafish orthologue of mTOR, ztor, is less defined in these areas. This review paper discusses the tale of growing old in the zebrafish, the physiological roles of ztor in normal developmental processes and its involvement in the pathogenesis of aging-related diseases such as metabolic disorders and cancers.
Most palm oil mills adopted conventional ponding system, including anaerobic, aerobic, facultative and algae ponds, for the treatment of palm oil mill effluent (POME). Only a few mills installed a bio-polishing plant to treat POME further before its final discharge. The present study aims to determine the quality and toxicity levels of POME final discharge from three different mills by using conventional chemical analyses and fish (Danio rerio) embryo toxicity (FET) test. The effluent derived from mill A which installed with a bio-polishing plant had lower values of BOD, COD and TSS at 45 mg/L, 104 mg/L, and 27 mg/L, respectively. Only mill A nearly met the industrial effluent discharge standard for BOD. In FET test, effluent from mill A recorded low lethality and most of the embryos were malformed after hatching (half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) = 20%). The highest toxicity was observed from the effluent of mill B and all embryos were coagulated after 24 h in samples greater than 75% of effluent (38% of half-maximal lethal concentration (LC50) at 96 h). The embryos in the effluent from mill C recorded high mortality after hatching, and the survivors were malformed after 96 h exposure (LC50 = 26%). Elemental analysis of POME final discharge samples showed Cu, Zn, and Fe concentrations were in the range of 0.10-0.32 mg/L, 0.01-0.99 mg/L, and 0.94-4.54 mg/L, respectively and all values were below the effluent permissible discharge limits. However, the present study found these metals inhibited D. rerio embryonic development at 0.12 mg/L of Cu, and 4.9 mg/L of Fe for 96 h-EC50. The present study found that bio-polishing plant installed in mill A effectively removing pollutants especially BOD and the FET test was a useful method to monitor quality and toxicity of the POME final discharge samples.
Conventional mammalian models of neurodegeneration are often limited by futile axonogenesis with minimal functional recuperation of severed neurons. The emergence of zebrafish, a non-mammalian model with excellent neuroregenerative properties, may address these limitations. This study aimed to establish an adult zebrafish-based, neurotoxin-induced Parkinson's disease (PD) model and subsequently validate the regenerative capability of dopaminergic neurons (DpN). The DpN of adult male zebrafish (Danio rerio) were lesioned by microinjecting 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) neurotoxin (6.25, 12.5, 18.75, 25, 37.5, 50 and 100 mg/kg) into the ventral diencephalon (Dn). This was facilitated by an optimised protocol that utilised 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethyl-indocarbocyanineperchlorate (DiI) dye to precisely identify the injection site. Immunostaining was utilised to identify the number of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive (TH-ir) DpN in brain regions of interest (i.e. olfactory bulb, telencephalon, preoptic area, posterior tuberculum and hypothalamus). Open tank video recordings were performed for locomotor studies. The Dn was accessed by setting the injection angle of the microinjection capillary to 60° and injection depth to 1200 μm (from the exposed brain surface). 6-OHDA (25 mg/kg) successfully ablated >85% of the Dn DpN (preoptic area, posterior tuberculum and hypothalamus) whilst maintaining a 100% survival. Locomotor analysis of 5-min recordings revealed that 6-OHDA-lesioned adult zebrafish were significantly (p zebrafish showed full recovery of Dn DpN 30 days post-lesion. This study had successfully developed a stable 6-OHDA-induced PD zebrafish model using a straightforward and reproducible approach. Thus, this developed teleost model poses exceptional potentials to study DpN regeneration.
Newly discovered kisspeptin (metastin), encoded by the Kiss1/KISS1 gene, is considered as a major gatekeeper of puberty through the regulation of GnRH. In the present study, we cloned a novel kisspeptin gene (kiss2) in the zebrafish Danio rerio and the medaka Oryzias latipes, which encodes a sequence of 125 and 115 amino acids, respectively, and its core sequence (FNLNPFGLRF, F-F form) is different from the previously characterized kiss1 (YNLNSFGLRY, Y-Y form). Our in silico data mining shows kiss1 and kiss2 are highly conserved across nonmammalian vertebrate species, and we have identified two putative kisspeptins in the platypus and three forms in Xenopus. In the brain of zebrafish and medaka, in situ hybridization and laser capture microdissection coupled with real-time PCR showed kiss1 mRNA expression in the ventromedial habenula and the periventricular hypothalamic nucleus. The kiss2 mRNA expression was observed in the posterior tuberal nucleus and the periventricular hypothalamic nucleus. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis during zebrafish development showed a significant increase in zebrafish kiss1, kiss2 (P < 0.002), gnrh2, and gnrh3 (P < 0.001) mRNA levels at the start of the pubertal phase and remained high in adulthood. In sexually mature female zebrafish, Kiss2 but not Kiss1 administration significantly increased FSH-beta (2.7-fold, P < 0.05) and LH-beta (8-fold, P < 0.01) mRNA levels in the pituitary. These results suggest that the habenular Kiss1 and the hypothalamic Kiss2 are potential regulators of reproduction including puberty and that Kiss2 is the predominant regulator of gonadotropin synthesis in fish.
CTP Synthase (CTPS) is a metabolic enzyme that is recognized as a catalyst for nucleotide, phospholipid and sialoglycoprotein production. Though the structural characteristics and regulatory mechanisms of CTPS are well-understood, little is known regarding the extent of its involvement during the early developmental stages of vertebrates. Zebrafish carries two CTPS genes, annotated as ctps1a and ctps1b. Phylogenetic analyses show that both genes had diverged from homologues in the ancestral Actinopterygii, Oreochromis niloticus. Conservation of common CTPS-catalytic regions further establishes that both proteins are likely to be functionally similar to hsaCTPS. Here, we show that ctps1a is more critical throughout the initial period of embryonic development than ctps1b. The effects of concurrent partial knockdown are dependent on ctps1a vs ctps1b dosage ratios. When these are equally attenuated, abnormal phenotypes acquired prior to the pharyngula period disappear in hatchlings (48hpf); however, if either gene is more attenuated than the other, these only become more pronounced in advanced stages. Generally, disruption to normal ctps1a or ctps1b expression levels by morpholinos culminates in the distortion of the early spinal column as well as multiple-tissue oedema. Other effects include slower growth rates, increased mortality rates and impaired structural formation of the young fish's extremities. Embryos grown in DON, a glutamine-analogue drug and CTPS antagonist, also exhibit similar characteristics, thus strengthening the validity of the morpholino-induced phenotypes observed. Together, our results demonstrate the importance of CTPS for the development of zebrafish embryos, as well as a disparity in activity and overall importance amongst isozymes.
kcnk10a has been predicted in zebrafish to be a member of the two-pore domain potassium ion (K+) channel-related K+ (TREK) channel family known as a thermoreceptor. Since reproduction is affected by temperature, Kcnk10a could be involved in the regulation of reproduction. However, expression of kcnk10a in the zebrafish brain and association with reproduction has not been identified. In this study, the full length sequence and localization of kcnk10a in the brain was investigated and gene expressions of the TREK channel family were examined to investigate association with reproduction. We initially identified the full length cDNA sequence of kcnk10a using Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends and localization in the zebrafish brain using in situ hybridization. Furthermore, we examined the gene expression differences of kcnk2b, kcnk10a and kcnk10b mRNA between genders as well as developmental stages by real-time PCR. The deduced amino acid sequence of the identified kcnk10a mRNA contains highly conserved two pore domains and four transmembrane regions and was higher similarity to zebrafish Kcnk10b than zebrafish Kcnk2a and 2b. kcnk10a mRNA was widely distributed in the brain such as the preoptic area, hypothalamus and the midbrain. kcnk10a mRNA expression exhibited significant difference between mature male and female, and increase during puberty. Kcnk10a could be involved in the regulation of reproductive function.
Early-life stress can cause long-term effects in the adulthood such as alterations in behaviour, brain functions and reproduction. DNA methylation is a mechanism of epigenetic change caused by early-life stress. Dexamethasone (DEX) was administered to zebrafish larvae to study its effect on reproductive dysfunction. The level of GnRH2, GnRH3, Kiss1 and Kiss2 mRNAs were measured between different doses of DEX treatment groups in adult zebrafish. Kiss1 and GnRH2 expression were increased in the 200mg/L DEX treated while Kiss2 and GnRH3 mRNA levels were up-regulated in the 2mg/L DEX-treated zebrafish. The up-regulation may be related to programming effect of DEX in the zebrafish larvae, causing overcompensation mechanism to increase the mRNA levels. Furthermore, DEX treatment caused negative impact on the development and maturation of the testes, in particular spermatogenesis. Therefore, immature gonadal development may cause positive feedback by increasing GnRH and Kiss. This indicates that DEX can alter the regulation of GnRH2, GnRH3, Kiss1 and Kiss2 in adult zebrafish, which affects maturation of gonads. Computer analysis of 1.5 kb region upstream of the 5' UTR of Kiss1, Kiss2, GnRH2 and GnRH3 promoter showed that there are putative binding sites of glucocorticoid response element and transcription factors involved in stress response. GnRH3 promoter analysed from pre-optic area, ventral telencephalon and ventral olfactory bulb showed higher methylation at CpG residues located on -1410, -1377 and -1355 between control and 2mg/L DEX-treated groups. Hence, early-life DEX treatment can alter methylation of GnRH3 gene promoter, which subsequently affects gene regulation and reproductive functions.
This study assessed the cholesterol lowering effect of Pediococcus acidilactici LAB4 and Lactobacillus plantarum LAB12 using adult zebrafish. Animals were fed with a high cholesterol diet (HCD) with/without LAB for seven weeks. Serum and liver cholesterol was quantified using colorimetric and dye staining methods. Expressions of npc1l1 and abca1 in the liver and intestine and appa in the brain were quantified using RT-PCR. Serum and liver cholesterol was significantly lowered in LAB4- and LAB12-fed zebrafish (≤64% and ≤71%, respectively), with reduced liver cholesterol deposition. The cholesterol lowering effect was accompanied by down-regulation of npc1l1 in intestines (≤28.7%), up-regulation of abca1 in the liver (≥30.5%) and down-regulation of appa in the brain (≤24.5%). A moderately strong positive Pearson correlation (r = 0.617, p < 0.01) was found between appa and serum cholesterol. LAB-fed zebrafish exhibited improved spatial learning and memory. LAB4 and LAB12 can be potentially used in preventing hypercholesterolaemia and Alzheimer's diseases.
Ambient light and temperature affect reproductive function by regulating kisspeptin and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in vertebrates. Melatonin and melatonin receptors, as well as the two-pore domain K+ channel-related K+ (TREK) channels, are affected by light and/or temperature; therefore, these molecules could modulate kisspeptin and GnRH against ambient light and temperature. In this study, we investigated the effect of light and temperature, which affect melatonin levels in gene expression levels of TREK channels, kisspeptin, and GnRH. We first investigated the effects of different light and temperature conditions on brain melatonin concentrations by ELISA. Fish were exposed to either constant darkness, constant light, high temperature (35°C), or low temperature (20°C) for 72 h. Brain melatonin levels were significantly high under constant darkness and high temperature. We further investigated the effects of high brain melatonin levels by constant darkness and high temperature on gene expression levels of melatonin receptors (mt1, mt2, and mel1c), TREK channels (trek1b, trek2a, and trek2b), gnrh3, and kiss2 in the adult zebrafish brain by real-time polymerase chain reaction. Fish were exposed to constant darkness or elevated temperatures (35°C) for 72 h. trek2a, kiss2, and gnrh3 levels were increased under constant darkness. High temperature decreased gene expression levels of mt1, mt2, mel1c, and gnrh3 in the preoptic area, whereas other genes remained unchanged. Melatonin receptors, TREK channels, gnrh3, and kiss2 responded differently under high melatonin conditions. The melatonin receptors and the TREK channels could play roles in the regulation of reproduction by environmental cues, especially ambient light and temperature.